Stephen Callender is President of Bass Installation, a specialty contractor specializing in glass installation. He is also president and co-founder of the Afro Canadian Contractors Association. In the early 1980s, Stephen joined the Ironworkers Union (Local 721) and continued working for a variety of companies while completing his apprenticeship. By late 1980s, he became a general foreman for Antamex International (today part of Oldcastle Glass) and ran various key projects in Toronto, including 250 Yonge Street (the Eaton Centre). He was awarded the 2018 OGMA (Ontario Glass and Metal Association) Award of Excellence for the University of UTSC (Toronto Scarborough Campus) Environmental Science and Chemistry Building project at the Top Glass conference.
Describe why the nominee should receive the Community Benefits Champion Award.
There is a lack of representation of BIPOC tradespeople in the construction industry because systemic racism has prevented BIPOC from, first entering the industry and, even if they manage to enter, there are sometimes insurmountable obstacles that prevent them from progressing from apprentice through to journey-person.
Stephen is nominated for a Community Benefits Champion award for his leading role in the establishment of the Afro-Canadian Contractors Association (ACCA). ACCA was established in early 2021 with the objective to increase the presence of Black contractors in the Canadian construction industry. ACCA’s goal is to work with its members to grow their capacity to become contractors and sub-contractors through successful bids on public and privately funded construction projects, such as those with Community Benefits Agreements, and hire black workers. While in its early stages, by preparing more Black contractors to bid on construction projects, ACCA is making a major contribution to diversifying economic opportunities for Black individuals, whether through contracting or hiring Black workers in skilled trades and apprenticeships.
Under Stephen’s leadership, along with providing training seminars and networking opportunities to support Black entreprenurs to grow their businesses, ACCA is leveraging its membership of Black Contractors to provide BIPOC job you with hands on experience to build skills to enter the building trades, a critical step on the road to entrepreneurship and bidding on contracts in the industry.
ACCA provides a series of training workshops for BIPOC contractors where they are taught the basic administrative, financial, marketing, quality control, estimation, project management and customer service skills needed to successfully manage their own businesses and skills to aide in handling racism on the job. It also provide workshops and mentoring for small BIPOC tradespeople who may have been stuck in a low-level trades jobs and are unable to venture into other areas or scale-up into more lucrative areas of the construction industry.
ACCA has also partnered with Toronto Community Benefits Network to build the NexGen Academy that assists Black youth to prepare for the math and essential skills required for entry into various unionized construction trades, focusing on both compulsory and voluntary trades.
Has the individual contributed to achieving a community benefits agreement for a local construction project that is privately or publicly funded?
Identify the project name and location (city, town or other location) and the role played by nominee in achieving the CBA.
The ACCA creates a platform for young black men and women to gain access to the workforce by equipping them with the necessary skills needed to fully function. As well as to empower employers, and communities leaders to create inclusive organizations through training/education.
Has the individual led efforts that benefit targets for diverse hiring on construction projects associated with a community benefits agreement?
By forging partnerships with companies and community-based organizations to provide opportunities and training for marginalized groups
Has the nominee contributed to adjusting or improving on any other traditional practices within the construction sector to incorporate more inclusive approaches?
The ACCA collaborates with people both within and outside the community to achieve lifelong learning, youth engagement, sustainability, partnership and collaboration as well as community leadership and advocacy for its members and community as a whole.
Has the nominee led in supporting and advocating for diversity-related interests in government and societal affairs?
Increase in hiring, better job retention, more apprenticeships and greater numbers in leadership
If yes, please describe the contribution
The Afro-Canadian Contractors Association facilitates and fosters community engagement and empowerment for all members of the community through interactive and educational programs.